UNCW Parking Nightmare Could Be Worse

Linda Newell | Contributing Writer

It can sometimes seem like parking officers at UNCW are determined to give out tickets. On days when you are in a hurry and can’t find a space in your parking zone, it is easier to park somewhere else to avoid being late for class. Parking on our campus is not ideal, but it really isn’t that bad.

Residents, even freshmen, are able to park on campus, typically in close proximity to their residence halls. Some state schools do not allow freshmen to park on campus at all, which is explicitly stated on their websites. According to UNCW parking rules and regulations, residents can park in commuter zones on weekdays after 4 p.m. and on weekends.

“Our goal is to help students learn where to park,” said Rita Gordon, Director of Auxiliary Services. The primary goal of parking services is to educate students about the importance of obeying all UNCW parking regulations. Efforts have been made to make parking maps easier for students to understand and to ensure that students know the parking rules.

According to Gordon, commuter students appreciate that parking is enforced, as it ensures that they will be able to find a parking space and prevents commuter parking zones from becoming overcrowded.

“I’m happy with the parking available here,” said Grace Spinella, a UNCW commuter student. “I like knowing that I will be able to find a parking space on campus.”

When it comes to writing tickets, Gordon said, “Our goal is not to write as many as possible.” Employees are paid on an hourly basis and make the same amount of money whether they write 25 tickets or no tickets.

Auxiliary Services does not profit much financially from ticketing. “By state mandate, universities only keep 20 percent of all money gained from fines. The other 80 percent goes towards the K-12 education system of North Carolina,” Gordon said.

As of last semester, students have the option to work off a parking ticket with community service, depending on the violation. This does not generate any money for Auxiliary Services or the North Carolina education system.

According to Gordon, students can work off a ticket by helping with filing paperwork or shadowing a parking officer. For every hour that students work for Auxiliary Services, they are credited $10 towards their fine. For example, if a student has a $50 ticket, then they must help Auxiliary Services for five hours to work off the ticket.

“It would be nice if we could just park wherever we wanted,” said Nicole Rocco, a UNCW graduate student. However, the parking situation would likely be chaotic if there were not assigned zones.

Our parking situation is not perfect, but Auxiliary Services is making an effort to work with students. If you are unhappy with parking at UNCW, let them know what you want them to change or improve. Just remember that as Seahawks we have it pretty good compared to students at some other schools.